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USB Type-C to be slimmer and reversible

USB Type-C to be slimmer and reversible

The new USB Type-C will be reversible like Apple's Lightning connector.

The USB 3.0 Promoter Group has outlined plans (pdf warning) for a new USB standard that will be both smaller than current standards and be reversible.

The new connector will be around the size of current USB 2.0 microUSB but will offer full USB 3.0 speeds and, like Apple's Lightning connector, eliminate the annoyance of current standards that require you to get the socket the right way round.

The current USB 3.0 microUSB standard is a clunky affair that essentially uses two connectors in a single package.

Unlike standards such as microUSB and miniUSB, the new connection aims to completely replace the current full-size connector.

"The new USB Type-C connector, built initially on existing USB 3.1 and USB 2.0 technologies, is being developed to help enable thinner and sleeker product designs, enhance usability and provide a growth path for performance enhancements for future versions of USB." says the group's press release.

The summary specifications of the new connector are:
  • An entirely new design tailored to work well with emerging product designs.
  • New smaller size – similar in size to the existing USB 2.0 Micro-B.
  • Usability enhancements – users will no longer need to be concerned with plug orientation / cable direction, making it easier to plug in.
  • The Type-C connector and cable will support scalable power charging.
  • Scalability – the connector design will scale for future USB bus performance.

The connector specification is expected to be ratified by the middle of 2014, with an industry review during the first quarter of 2014.

Looking forward to a smaller, easier to use USB connection? We certainly are.

33 Comments

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GeorgeK 4th December 2013, 17:01 Quote
Reversible plugs would be a godsend - does anyone else try the following with USB:

Try plug, doesn't fit - turn plug upside-down, still doesn't fit, try plug back in first orientation, suddenly fits!

EVERY GODDAMN TIME AAARGH
Guinevere 4th December 2013, 17:27 Quote
Apple change functional but nasty 30pin connector to slim, strong reversible lighting connector and the internets has a massive group hissy fit as adaptors are needed for older device compatibility.

USB makes the same sort of decision with their connector and it too will need adaptors for older device compatibility and the internets loves it and applauds the move.

Ahh, how we love the internets.

I don't see what's wrong with the current system. I mean I only need to use six different USB connectors. Six? What's wrong with there being six different connectors? (Sarcasm)
law99 4th December 2013, 17:29 Quote
EVERY ****ING TIME MOTHER ****ER!!!! THIS IS THE BEST THING SINCE HOME SLICED ETHERNET CABLE!!!!!
Lance 4th December 2013, 18:21 Quote
Having started to use the Apple lightning connector, I really like it, its so much better compared with the old version so I am looking forward to it.

What I don't like is that my old docks/speakers are essentially useless now.
KidMod-Southpaw 4th December 2013, 18:37 Quote
No more USB ports breaking the 4th wall? NOOOOO!
theshadow2001 4th December 2013, 18:41 Quote
when this is fully implemented and widespread it will be great but getting there is still going to be a pain. Legacy devices not working or no adapters when you need one etc
GeorgeK 4th December 2013, 18:58 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Guinevere
Apple change functional but nasty 30pin connector to slim, strong reversible lighting connector and the internets has a massive group hissy fit as adaptors are needed for older device compatibility.

USB makes the same sort of decision with their connector and it too will need adaptors for older device compatibility and the internets loves it and applauds the move.

Ahh, how we love the internets.

I don't see what's wrong with the current system. I mean I only need to use six different USB connectors. Six? What's wrong with there being six different connectors? (Sarcasm)

I didn't realise that Apple's lightning connector was reversible - rather cynically I just thought they changed it so that they could make more money from selling new accessories as your old ones wouldn't work any more...
Quote:
Originally Posted by law99
EVERY ****ING TIME MOTHER ****ER!!!! THIS IS THE BEST THING SINCE HOME SLICED ETHERNET CABLE!!!!!

Ahahahahaha - exactly what I was going to type but I chickened out :D +rep good sir ;)

Edit:

http://makeameme.org/media/created/usb-suggests-reversible.jpg
Guinevere 4th December 2013, 19:20 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lance
What I don't like is that my old docks/speakers are essentially useless now.

You have four options:

1. Use a 3.5mm cable. Your dock has one of those right?

2. Use an Apple 30pin/lightning adaptor.

3. Use a third party 30pin/lightning adaptor.

4. Spend £10 for a 30pin bluetooth adaptor and convert your dock to use bluetooth (This is what I'd do)

Note: I initially mistyped the 'o' in dock and it came out with the adjacent vowel. Now converting that to bluetooth would be an achievement!
Tangster 4th December 2013, 19:33 Quote
Quote:

Probably because USB cables are like £1.50 each but a lightning cable is £15 each.
Cheapskate 4th December 2013, 19:46 Quote
I had a GIF, but file size limit...:(

This is a welcome change, and it doesn't bother me much. Phone chargers are the new coat hanger. I just need to open my electronic stuff drawer in a few months, and I'll have six new ones.
Guinevere 4th December 2013, 20:49 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tangster
Probably because USB cables are like £1.50 each but a lightning cable is £15 each.

Ebay will sell you a lightning cable in any number of colours for 99p. It'll charge up your iOS 7 device just fine, which is all most people need with wi-fi sync. It 'probably' won't blow up your device, and if it does it's sure to only do it once.

Amazon will sell you a 3m audiquest carbon USB cable for £199. Yes, it works exactly the same as the two dozen generic ones you have stuffed in a draw somewhere.

What does this prove? That's Apple's cables are good quality but they sure make lots of profit for Apple, and Audiquest / Monster Et Al will try and get money from really gullible fools. At least

I love the lightning cable. Yeah it's annoying that six of my devices run 30pin connections compared to the two newer ones, but that's progress. We suffered too many years with silly little round power connectors that came in a dozen different sizes and then different polarities.

When it came to data cables everyone did their own thing. But Apple created a standard they kept for blooming' ages. Now they have a new standard and it's better than the old one and still backwardly compatible.

Just wish they'd add USB 3.0 to lightning. I know the flash drives can write at a faster rate than their interface will sync at.
theshadow2001 4th December 2013, 21:01 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Guinevere
Apple change functional but nasty 30pin connector to slim, strong reversible lighting connector and the internets has a massive group hissy fit as adaptors are needed for older device compatibility.

USB makes the same sort of decision with their connector and it too will need adaptors for older device compatibility and the internets loves it and applauds the move.

Ahh, how we love the internets.
Well I guess thats apple users for you.
edzieba 4th December 2013, 21:05 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Guinevere
Apple change functional but nasty 30pin connector to slim, strong reversible lighting connector and the internets has a massive group hissy fit as adaptors are needed for older device compatibility.
The bitching is because Apple chose to create their own proprietary connector rather than finally switch to micro-USB like every other phone manufacturer on the planet, and that they managed to lose not only much of the functionality of the 30-pin dock (simultaneous access to line-out, HDMI out, USB, etc), but worse functionality than micro-USB!
For example: Apple's solution to video-out on the Lightning connector is to encode everything to lossy 720p, stream it to a ARM chip at the end of the cable, which then decodes the stream and upscales it to the desired output resolution. Micro-USB? Both Slimport and MHD output standard HDMI, with no upscaling or re-encoding.
Beasteh 4th December 2013, 21:29 Quote
Reminded me of this SMBC comic.

Does this mean the connectors on my shiny new case are obsolete?
Maki role 4th December 2013, 21:34 Quote
Hmm. The only thing I liked about USB is that newer generations still worked with older ones without any adapter mess (albeit at reduced capacities). This will be fine after a few years when everybody's stuff fits, but until then it will be nice and annoying. Simply put, if it's not adopted everywhere quickly, it won't work, but if it is adopted, it's annoying for a while.

Same deal as with the lightning cable, when it was released, damn it was annoying having to use adapters/get new cables. But now it's filtered across all my devices so I'm happy as once more they're back to a single connector. It just means there's going to be the inevitable teething issues, only I suspect this USB one may be more annoying as Apple can make a switch immediately, which prompts a swift response. A gradual change will just take longer and be more difficult in the long run.
Yslen 4th December 2013, 22:12 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by GeorgeK
Reversible plugs would be a godsend - does anyone else try the following with USB:

Try plug, doesn't fit - turn plug upside-down, still doesn't fit, try plug back in first orientation, suddenly fits!

EVERY GODDAMN TIME AAARGH

As the great Tom Francis once said, "If mankind could harness the technology that allows a USB connector to only work the third way around you try it, we'd be unstoppable."
SexyHyde 5th December 2013, 00:56 Quote
I remember the big fuss when we changed from miniUSB to microUSB. Massive it was. Oh wait no it wasn't. And as the new cables will be USB to USB Type-C (what we going to be calling it? nanoUSB?) most stuff will just work and we don't have expensive docks and appliances that need additional adapters.

The Apple cables are shockingly poor. I have loads at work and they last about as long as the worst generic cables i have used.
Skill3d 5th December 2013, 00:59 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by GeorgeK
Reversible plugs would be a godsend - does anyone else try the following with USB:

Try plug, doesn't fit - turn plug upside-down, still doesn't fit, try plug back in first orientation, suddenly fits!

EVERY GODDAMN TIME AAARGH


Try plug, doesn't fit; turns plug, fits but isn't working at all, try plug back in first orientation, fits as well.... Made my own reversible (nonfunctional now) usb -_-
SpAceman 5th December 2013, 06:39 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by GeorgeK
Reversible plugs would be a godsend - does anyone else try the following with USB:

Try plug, doesn't fit - turn plug upside-down, still doesn't fit, try plug back in first orientation, suddenly fits!

EVERY GODDAMN TIME AAARGH


This might clear things up for you:
http://i.imgur.com/8cEBpMB.png


This is of course a brilliant idea. I just hope phone manufacturers ship new phones that use the type-C standard with micro-B to micro-C adapters.
Cthippo 5th December 2013, 07:12 Quote


EDIT: It says something about the universality of this issue that there are three good geek cartoons about it already.
Neilc 5th December 2013, 09:50 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by GeorgeK
Reversible plugs would be a godsend - does anyone else try the following with USB:

Try plug, doesn't fit - turn plug upside-down, still doesn't fit, try plug back in first orientation, suddenly fits!

EVERY GODDAMN TIME AAARGH

This started me off....

[QUOTE=SpAceman;3463002]This might clear things up for you:
http://i.imgur.com/8cEBpMB.png

Then pissed myself!!
Gambler FEX online 5th December 2013, 11:45 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpAceman
Quote:
Originally Posted by GeorgeK
Reversible plugs would be a godsend - does anyone else try the following with USB:

Try plug, doesn't fit - turn plug upside-down, still doesn't fit, try plug back in first orientation, suddenly fits!

EVERY GODDAMN TIME AAARGH


This might clear things up for you:
http://i.imgur.com/8cEBpMB.png


This is of course a brilliant idea. I just hope phone manufacturers ship new phones that use the type-C standard with micro-B to micro-C adapters.
This is hypothesis is false. I once plugged the USB in on the first try.
Lance 5th December 2013, 11:51 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gambler FEX online
This is hypothesis is false. I once plugged the USB in on the first try.

Miracle!!! He's the reincarnation of Jesus!
GeorgeStorm 5th December 2013, 11:54 Quote
Reversible will be cool, but until everything uses the new one it will be rubbish in my opinion.

I like the current system, you expect to get it wrong first try every time, so when you get it right it brighten your entire day :D
dr-strangelove 5th December 2013, 15:30 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by GeorgeK
Reversible plugs would be a godsend - does anyone else try the following with USB:

Try plug, doesn't fit - turn plug upside-down, still doesn't fit, try plug back in first orientation, suddenly fits!

EVERY GODDAMN TIME AAARGH

Every. Single. Time.
dr-strangelove 5th December 2013, 15:32 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpAceman
This might clear things up for you:
http://i.imgur.com/8cEBpMB.png

You sir have made my day :D
law99 5th December 2013, 16:15 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by theshadow2001
when this is fully implemented and widespread it will be great but getting there is still going to be a pain. Legacy devices not working or no adapters when you need one etc

surely the device on one end of the cable could auto-negotiate with incompatible devices with a USB to USB type C cable?
PCBuilderSven 5th December 2013, 20:10 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by GeorgeK
Reversible plugs would be a godsend - does anyone else try the following with USB:

Try plug, doesn't fit - turn plug upside-down, still doesn't fit, try plug back in first orientation, suddenly fits!

EVERY GODDAMN TIME AAARGH

Really? I get it first time right almost every time, never take more than two.

I really hope if they do make a new port, they'll design it in a way so both the old and new ports fit (like the micro AB receptor).
law99 5th December 2013, 21:08 Quote
Well aren't you a picture of USB nirvana?
jazzzyj 8th December 2013, 18:53 Quote
Haven't they already made a reversible version of the current plug
Like so: http://reversibleusb.com/
Why do we need a new connector?
-J
Unicorn 8th December 2013, 19:08 Quote
Regarding the whole three state USB thing - the ISO standard for USB cables dictates that best practice for OEMs is that the industry standard USB symbol be printed on the upper side of the body of the type A and B connector - that's the case 99% of the time and thus I have become quite proficient in the miraculous art of plugging them in first time round (it's a lottery with memory sticks though) but when you get a manufacturer like Logitech or Belkin, they get all corporate brandy-importance about the whole thing and put their own logo on the upper side and the ISO standard USB symbol on the underside, so it's a complete mind**** and you end up doing the usual 3rd time lucky dance with the silly thing! D:

I like Thunderbolt for reversibility and possibly (clarification?) faster speed via USB 3 ports on my laptop and desktop.
Tangster 8th December 2013, 20:23 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpAceman
This might clear things up for you:
-snip-
This is of course a brilliant idea. I just hope phone manufacturers ship new phones that use the type-C standard with micro-B to micro-C adapters.

Haha. Have some rep good sir.;)
Unicorn 9th December 2013, 15:05 Quote
I look forward to USB Type C for reversibility. Now if only they'd redesign DVI and especially D-Sub connectors... Which would probably make them 'O-Sub' connectors

I know, I know, it's harder (or impossible?!) to make an analog connector reversible which means they'll always have to be keyed. They're a PITA to plug in blind though :)
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